I hope you won't misunderstand the reason for the "tone" in which I post. I'm actually an awkward introvert, and have been all my life. But I also read verses such as "the righteous are bold as a lion", and try to act accordingly, so my Christ won't be ashamed of me. This being a website where I am out-classed educationally and out-numbered by gender, I have
to write in a straightforward manner, or you gentlemen could chew me up and spit me out in a heartbeat. When my husband and I long ago left that 16-year membership in the cult-like church (whose pastor and some in the men's group approved of corporal punishment for wives to keep them cowed), I forever abandoned any obsequious, timorous style of existence. That's not the life God intended for His daughters. Besides, how will you know where I'm coming from, unless I state quite plainly what that viewpoint is? And I'm afraid the Full-Preterist camp does not welcome or accept many of the views I find in scripture (an end of the New Covenant Age, a future bodily resurrection, multiple ages of history, NOT everything fulfilled in AD 70, a literal 1,000-year millennium, a fulfilled bodily "rapture" of resurrected saints, etc., etc.)
Steve, this is what I appreciate most about the manner in which your videos and written work are presented: you walk all the way around a subject and look at it from every conceivable angle in order to analyze it. I am certainly not alone in this appreciation of your delivery style, or your books on Revelation and Hell would not have the wide range of appeal that they do. This type of thorough technique I have also tried to incorporate in my studies about eschatology and the doctrines that it connects to, such as this one about demons. It's the very reason for laying all my cards on the table in various Christian forums, across the spectrum of differing viewpoints - including yours, as long as you allow me to do so. I WANT to have my views poked at from every angle, using scripture to examine them by minds other than my own (the whole "iron sharpening iron" thing). There is literally no one in my immediate circle that can converse directly with me to challenge any errors. If the views I hold are true, they can withstand any scriptural cross-examination (no pun intended). If they are vanity, then as Gamaliel told the Jewish council, they will come to nothing, and you need not give them another thought.
You say in your videos of spiritual warfare that you have had to change your viewpoint after doing considerable contemplation on whether a believing child of God can be "demonized" (a good word choice), or if this is only possible in the case of unbelievers. Laying aside for the moment any modern-day anecdotal examples of demons out of the discussion, there ARE some scriptural examples that we can refer to as possible cases for a demonized child of God. One I have mentioned as a possibility on another website is the case of King Saul. Alternately, the Spirit of God came upon him (on at least 3 occasions) so that he prophesied. Later on, an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. This "evil spirit" is either a sad case of irrational, paranoid behavior for Saul (possibly bi-polar issues, long before the word came into vogue), OR it was an actual evil angelic spirit that plagued the king. Presuming it WAS an evil angelic spirit, the question then arises: Was Saul actually a child of God who simply made sinful choices, and was "demonized" by an evil spirit, or was he never a child of faith at all to the day of his death?
I believe it's possible to prove that Saul WAS a child of faith in the same sense that the righteous prophet Samuel and Saul's sons were (such as the godly Jonathan). The genuine spirit of Samuel, raised at Endor to speak to the king, testified of this to King Saul on the night before Saul's death in battle: "...tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be WITH ME". Did that only mean that King Saul and his sons could expect to die the next day? Or did it mean King Saul and his sons would be in Paradise, sharing the same condition as righteous spirits together with the godly prophet Samuel? The latter seems a strong possibility, as far as I can tell. The deduction would then be that King Saul, a child of God (although not in full obedient fellowship), could have had an "evil spirit" that on occasion "demonized" him during his life, before his spirit joined the godly prophet Samuel in Paradise.
Now, presuming this deduction WAS the case back in the OT, does that necessarily prove that the same "demonizing" of God's children of faith takes place today? Before one answers that in the affirmative, they must consider a few other questions, which you may very well have covered in the past:
#1) Has God always manifested angelic spirits (whether good or evil) in the same manner throughout history? (I believe not.)
#2) Did God ever revise His program, so to speak, in the way celestial beings have interacted with mankind? (I believe yes.)
#3) In addition, has God always manifested the Holy Spirit in the same way throughout all of history? (Not from what I read.)
I believe there are scriptural grounds to show that God has made changes in the interactions of mankind and the spirit realm over the different ages of the world. In the case of the Spirit of God, it seems that during the OT days, the Spirit alternately came unto individuals to empower them for certain tasks or ministries, (like Samson and David), and then departed at will (as David indicated was possible with his "...take not thy holy spirit from me...").
Even during Christ's earthly ministry, the Spirit was still being compared to the wind that blew wherever it desired - both coming and going (John 3:8). But there was a dividing line in time, after which Christ promised the Spirit would dwell FOREVER WITHIN the saints. As John 14:16-17 says, "And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you FOREVER; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He DWELLETH WITH YOU" (present tense back then) "and SHALL BE IN
YOU" (an imminent future tense for them). Christ's departure from this world was the transition point. As John 16:7 said, "...if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send Him unto you."
I believe this is probably the point in time when the believers were no longer able to be "demonized" - when the Holy Spirit began to take up CONTINUAL, PERMANENT residence WITHIN the believers after Christ's departure. There's no room for two opposing spirit-masters to inhabit a person at the same time. "No man can serve two masters." And the Holy Spirit absolutely outranks any evil spirit, so I can't see how any lesser-powered evil spirits would even have been willing to share a dwelling space in a believer with the "greater" Spirit who had permanent residence within the saints. There can't possibly be two different seals in the foreheads of the believers - only one. "What fellowship hath light with darkness?"
Those lesser-powered evil spirits were only looking for a "house" that was EMPTY - "swept and garnished", and void of the Holy Spirit's presence. And even that parable example was speaking specifically to THAT wicked generation's "LAST state", since Christ promised the Jews a 7-fold increased incidence of evil spirits more wicked than those which He had cast out in their "first state" while He was among them (Matt. 12:43-45).
Steve, you have suggested that a "no-demons-in-the-present-age" paradigm is exhibiting naivete about realities encountered in ministry. It's true I have not your own particular personal experience or research in this matter. Here's what I DO have: I have a mom diagnosed with Alzheimer's, who "turns into another woman" as my grieving father describes it. This is an almost 90-year-old couple with a lifetime of practicing their faith before me. Is she "demonized" because she has meltdowns and utters absurd accusations to my father as her mind is slowly disintegrating? No, this is unfortunately a physiological ailment of natural causes, shared by many sufferers. I strongly suspect this may be due to a combination of age and a toxic level of aluminum built up in the brain tissue, (which cause is currently being researched).
I've also had the honor of "adopting" a mentally ill, impoverished couple in the SBC church I recently left. Escorted them in and out of several psychiatric facilities and hospitals for doctor appointments, ER analysis, food banks, funerals, family visits, etc. Saw plenty of crazy going on around me in those psychiatric facilities. Hauled them everywhere over several years as they gradually got worse over time. Eventually, the husband developed paranoid, violent tendencies - the whole wild-eyed thing that you would call "demonized". He would stand in the middle of their empty street and try to direct non-existent traffic; stuff like that. Started to physically attack his roommates, his wife, for what he perceived as threats to himself. Talked about the 5th dimension all the time. Wanted me to take him back to the previous century. I suspected that much of the Lithium-laced cocktail of government-sponsored medication they kept him dosed with might have been doing more harm than good. Yet I knew this man was a believer from our earlier Bible study groups with this couple before his mind began to completely fall apart toward the end before he died in an isolated ward.
I also have had a wonderful friendship for many years with a Christian woman next door who is bi-polar. Have experienced how she acts while on (and off) her meds, and the change is radical to say the least. "A different woman - not my real wife", her husband says, but this is a chemical imbalance issue - not demonization, because it can be controlled by a combination of good nutrition and keto-dieting, and medication.
I've also heavily researched the subject of PTSD fallout for combat vets, since my son is a med-retired combat vet. The suicide rate for such is very high, as my son has personally witnessed among those who served with him during "The Surge". Are the cases of violent explosions of anger and erratic behavior in a traumatized vet a sign of being "demonized"? Not from my research into the EMDR method of healing traumatic memory, and looking at the brain scans. The brain is "fearfully and wonderfully made". It's a marvel of God's creative power that we will probably never understand to the full, whether in a functioning or malfunctioning state. I think it's a disservice to anyone with PTSD - man, woman, or child - to assume evil spirits might be involved, when the remedy with EMDR techniques is a proven, effectual means of rapidly abating those issues, without meds. Frankly, I believe every combat vet leaving the service should automatically receive this EMDR treatment before re-entering civilian life. It's that beneficial.
Mind you, I do not dismiss the value of the Christian community and intercessory prayer for any of these ailments. Since we are a tri-partite being of body, soul, and spirit, it follows that all 3 avenues should be involved to remedy a problem. Sort of like a 3-legged stool.
As to the scriptural passages that I supplied above and in the link I offered regarding the presence of demons currently (or the lack thereof), I would be honored if anyone took the time to dissect any one of them to prove a different meaning from scripture, if they think I have misinterpreted them. No obligation, of course, but as I said, I have no one in my life available to chew on these points with me. No church assembly, and the husband's health issues don't allow him to stress over any point of disagreement, so it would be a Christian service were someone able to offer a sound scriptural rebuttal for consideration.
Sorry for the length of the comment again; women never run out of words